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WWE may be steering all its fans to subscribing to its new network, but four ambitious new DVD releases prove the company is far from done with traditional home video. Here’s a look.
The Best of Sting
For years, pro wrestling fans have been waiting for the Sting DVD collection that could only be put together once “The Icon” finally joined WWE. Well, they can keep on waiting, because this isn’t it.
That’s not to say that “The Best of Sting” is a disappointment. In fact, as a collection of fun, rare matches featuring WCW’s franchise player, it’s pretty terrific. But, there’s nothing about this three-disc set that says: “Finally, Sting has arrived in WWE.”
The DVD set’s release coincides with Sting finally doing business with WWE after nearly three decades of earning his legendary reputation in other promotions — most notably, WCW. In recent months, WWE has launched a major marketing campaign surrounding Sting’s involvement in the new WWE 2K15 video game and also featured Sting in several new sit-down interviews for programming on its new network. And, of course, there’s a lot of speculation about Sting returning to the ring for his first ever WWE match — speculation that WWE has happily fueled.
But a viewer wouldn’t know any of that from watching “The Best of Sting,” which might as well have been put together years ago. And, judging from some of the talking heads in the documentary style portion of the DVD set (including the late Mike Graham), that could very well be the case.
But more curious than the wrestlers who WWE’s production chose to interview for “The Best of Sting” is the one wrestler it didn’t — Sting. Yes, despite Sting sitting down with WWE cameras in recent months to discuss everything from the Monday Night War to the Ultimate Warrior’s passing, the only time we see Sting reflect on his career in this DVD set is in interview clips that are nearly 20 years old.
In fact, the thrown-together documentary segments, which include the likes of Natalya and Dean Ambrose weighing in on such probing topics as Sting’s facepaint and the origins of the Scorpion Deathlock, are where “The Best of Sting” falls flat. WWE Home Video would have been better off skipping the career retrospective stuff all together and offered this up just as a collection of matches.
After all, it’s the matches that make this DVD set something really special. From a 1988 world title match with Ric Flair on an episode of NWA Pro Wrestling, to an NWA Power Hour TV title match against Great Muta, to a bounty match against Vader from a 1992 episode of WCW Worldwide, “The Best of Sting” is loaded with classic Sting bouts that most fans likely haven’t seen since they originally aired. WWE dug deep to find matches featuring Sting against a variety of novel opponents, including Dutch “Zeb Colter” Mantel, Ron Simmons and a young Steve Austin.
To be sure, it’s the best Sting match compilation that’s ever been released. But there’s really no reason fans had to wait until now to get it.
Brothers of Destruction (Coming October 4)
This DVD featured some The Undertaker and Kane’s best tag-team matches is no-frills in the sense that it does not include any introduction, narration or interviews, nor any back-story on the bizarre relationship between Kane and ‘Taker. It also doesn’t feature the most memorable times Kane and The Undertaker shared a ring — namely, as opponents.
But none of that is meant as a criticism. In fact, it is somewhat refreshing to watch a WWE video release that features nothing but wrestling matches, without any of the babble and revisionist history lessons that sometimes take away from the enjoyment of a DVD.
And, unlike with other WWE compilation videos, Brothers of Destruction features several matches that could otherwise be hard to find. They include a tables match against the Dudleys from a 2001 Raw, a 2006 Smackdown bout against the pairing of MVP and Mr. Kennedy, and a 2008 match against John Morrison and The Miz from ECW on Syfy.
Although the Brothers of Destruction may seem like a peculiar choice for a themed WWE DVD release, that only makes it that much more refreshing, and enjoyable.
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